Ways to Manage Money During the Holidays
Create an OVERALL budget
My Overall Budget: $ 500.00
Track Everything You Spend
In order to be proactive in maintaining and sticking to a budget tracking everything that you spend needs to be a priority. I’ll be the first to admit that fairly often I “estimate” my spending without checking my bank account to confirm. Which inevitably leads to dipping into the emergency savings and a blow to the finances.
We have access to countless budgeting programs and apps that make tracking expenses easy. Personally, I recommend mint.com due to it’s tools that allows you to not only see all transactions but it’s ability to create budgets and also set financial goals. If you’re not already utilizing this free program then you should definitely give it a try and you might like enough to use all year round.
Avoid Using Credit
Credit cards, payday loans and all other forms of credit lines are especially tempting during the holiday season but keep in mind that these companies are in business to make money. During high school I worked at a major retail brand and our goal was to not only sell merchandise but to push consumers into opening new lines of store credit cards. Why? Because the more credit people had the more they likely they were to spend.
There are tons of strategies that help in avoiding credit lines but my favorite is shopping with the cash envelope system. By using cash only it makes you more accountable for expenses and there’s extra security to not go over-budget.
Now for those of us who simply cannot imagine avoiding credit lines then try to restrict the amount of credit being used to a minimum and also only use credit cards that offer perks like cashback.
Shopping online is the best thing since Netflix streaming and it’s a broke girls survival tactic. Finding cheap deals and better prices are within a click of the mouse and it’s always nice avoiding the crowds. Maybe it’s the influence of my generation but I love shopping online and have several tips for those that are unsure of where to start:
Tips For Shopping Online
Practice safe online shopping at all times. Identity fraud is on the rise and most people who became online victims unknowingly gave access to personal information. One of my favorite online rules is to never shop using public internet access i.e. library or the local coffee shop. It might seem safe but it’s an easy way for hackers to get everything they need.
Only shop online with websites that are familiar AND have a locked padlock (SSL) in the web browser. Limiting shopping to sites that are familiar can seem a restrictive at times but it adds to your peace of mind.
When Shopping In-Store Use Cashback Apps
If shopping in-store is more your speed then make sure to keep those receipts! There are several apps that offer cashback from in-store purchases. I highly recommend using either Ibotta, Checkout 51, Receipt Hog or all 3. Each one has their own requirements for earning cashback but in my experience every receipt can usually be uploaded to each app.
When Possible DIY
I’ll be the first to admit that I am far from crafty but in another life I must have been a creative soul because navigating a sewing machine comes way too easily. If you’re low on funds then pull up Pinterest or Youtube and start researching DIY projects. It might be more time consuming but the genuine effort and thought put into it will make a gift more priceless.
Comment below and Share your tips for staying on budget!